8 a.m. today in downtown Decatur. (Photo by J Swygart)
Light snow began in falling in Decatur shortly after 7 a.m. today as the city and Adams County hunkered down awaiting the first major blast of winter.
Snow accumulations of four to six inches are possible here, the National Weather Service (NWS) said. Blustery winds had already arrived, with 20-25 mph blowing and gusts up to 35 mph.
This area remained under a winter storm warning.
"We did some pre-treating last night, all the major streets, snow routes," Decatur Street/Sanitation Superintendent Jeremy Gilbert said shortly before 8 a.m. "It's the first time we've used this liquid de-icer.
"Basically, we're just getting stuff ready and waiting."
County highway department supervisor Mark Mitchel said at 8 a.m. today that crews were also waiting to see what the day would bring.
"There's no need to try and do anything right now. The trucks are ready, and when it's time to move, we'll move," Mitchel said.
A high near 30 degrees was predicted for Decatur today.
At 7 a.m., the NWS office in Fort Wayne was reporting 30 degrees, northeast winds at 24 mph with gusts up to 33 mph, and a wind-chill factor of 16 degrees.
Only some light snow is seen for the Adams County area tonight, but big winds will continue, at 15 to 20 mph from the north with gusts as high as 30 mph. The low should be in the lower 20s.
The next chance of snow here, forecasters said, is a 30 percent chance Saturday night. Highs around 30 and lows around 20 are seen for Thursday through Saturday, with considerably lighter winds.
The strong winter storm moved into southern Indiana early this morning, with heavy snow and high winds causing travel troubles, The Associated Press reported.
The NWS reported about sic inches of snow had fallen before daybreak near Evansville as a blizzard warning was in effect in most of the state’s southern two-thirds.
State police reported numerous slide-off accidents in the Evansville area and white-out conditions on Interstate 64 with wind gusts around 30 mph.
Weather service meteorologist Jason Puma said six to 10 inches of snow is expected to fall in central Indiana, with the heaviest amounts expected south and southeast of Indianapolis.
The snowstorm could be the biggest to hit Indianapolis in nearly four years, the weather service said. The last storm this powerful dropped 12.6 inches of snow Jan. 28, 2009.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard ordered all but essential city services, such as police and firefighters, to shut down Wednesday.
Ballard’s spokesman, Marc Lotter, said the city will have 118 snowplows patrolling the streets, and the state highway department said it planned to have nearly 70 on the road in Indianapolis and as many as 100 more clearing major roads in the surrounding region.